On Monday, April 4, Morgan Giles traveled to Western Kentucky University to speak to current Modern Languages Hilltoppers about translation and second-language learning. In her speech, she explained that translation is really an art: rather than a word-for-word translation, it is really a form of expression of the authors’ ideas. Also, conveying common sense is an important part of translation. Additionally, she explained that the translation requires constant revision; it is a long process in which the translator continues to perfect his work. The discussion aimed to guide students in their reflection on what a future career in translation might look like.
Giles, a native of Richmond, KY, graduated from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana in 2009 with a BA in Japanese Language and Culture and Linguistics. However, she has a long relationship with WKU, participating in the Verbally and Mathematically Precocious Youth (VAMPY) program from 2001 to 2004, which she remembers as “a vital and encouraging atmosphere”. Later, she did research on contemporary Japanese literature, sponsored by the Japanese Ministry of Education at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan. Giles currently lives in London, England, and works as a translator of contemporary literature. More recently, she won the National Book Award for Translated Literature for her translation of the novel Tokyo Ueno Station.
During Giles’ presentation, she also commented on the process of learning a second language. She explained that language learning is not a short-term goal, but rather a lifetime commitment. It is something that needs to be practiced regularly and learners need to be resilient when they encounter difficulties in their learning. Language learning is a long-term process that ends with a reward, including a career. For more information about WKU’s Japanese course offerings, placement, department exams, scholarships, and study abroad opportunities, contact Professor Paul Collins ([email protected]) .